BOSTON – The Boston Bruins found themselves behind early and weren’t able to mount a comeback as the Tampa Bay Lighting defeated the B’s 5-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
|Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic skates past Tampa Bay Lightning's Sean Bergenheim during the second period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference final playoff series, Saturday, May 14, 2011, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) |
While the Bruins came out strong in the first half of the opening period, Tampa Bay got the best of Boston not once, not twice, but three times midway through the first.
Sean Bergenheim started things off for the Bolts with his eighth goal of the postseason at the 11:15 mark. Bergenheim capitalized on a rebound off Tim Thomas that the stick-less Dennis Seidenberg tried to kick away. Bergenheim jumped on the puck and slapped it past Thomas. Brett Clark followed that up just 19 seconds later with his first goal of the postseason.
Teddy Purcell completed the Bolts opening charge at 12:40. Purcell challenged took the puck off a B’s defender’s stick and slipped in it the corner behind Thomas.
“It’s a tough hole to get out of. Two would have been better,” said Thomas.
“But the third goal was a surprise, you know, bad bounce goal, and that made it more difficult.”
While the Bolts quickly took a 3-0 lead, the Bruins didn’t close out the first period without any of their own highlights.
Rookie Tyler Seguin, making his NHL postseason debut, took a pretty pass from linemate Michael Ryder, weaved around a Bolts defender and wristed his first career postseason goal past Tampa Bay goaltender Dwayne Roloson with under five minutes left in the first.
“I think coming in the first period, I was definitely very excited. I found myself running around just a little bit just because I had so much legs I guess,” said Seguin.
“After I had that goal, it was a bit of a sigh of relief and I could be more poised out there.”
Seguin’s goal put the B’s down but not out. The goal gave Boston momentum and they continued to pile the offensive pressure on Roloson, piling up 12 shots in the first to Tampa’s 10.
While the first period featured plenty of offense and zero penalties, the second frame was nearly the exact opposite. The team’s combined for five minor penalties with the Bolts taking the most hits, sending three men to the box.
Neither team netted a power play goal as they skated the 3-1 Tampa lead into the second intermission.
“I thought our execution could certainly have been better, especially on those entries there,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of the power play.
“If we do our job properly I think we are going to have success, but you need the execution. I think the plan for the power play is good and we know how good they have been on the kill and what we need to do and we had some opportunities too.”
Johnny Boychuk knocked one in late in the third for Boston, assisted by Seguin. But Tampa added two third period goals including an empty netter with less than three minutes to play to down the B’s 5-2.
Game 2 is set for Tuesday night in TD Garden. Puck drops at 8:15.